Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chris York 7th at USATF Jr National Championships

The Spider Freshman competed with the best Juniors (Under 20 Years of Age) in the USA...

Chris York (photo by Dan Petty)

Chris York completed his freshman year of college nearly two months ago as part of the University of Richmond track & field and cross country teams. Back in January as we sat in my office and put his race schedule together we talked at length about the United States of America Track & Field (USATF) Junior National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. As we discussed his schedule we also talked at length about the 10K, an event he and I both believed he would be good in. From the meeting we put his race plan into place and began the season with the A-10 10K and USATF Jr Nationals as the two keys races.

Chris had a good indoor season and a great outdoor season running 31:28.32 under perfect conditions in his first 10K on the track at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, VA back on April 2nd…His next 10K was scheduled to be the Atlantic 10K Conference Championships in Amherst, Massachusetts on May 1. He followed his teammates Matt Llano (1st) and Tim Quinn (3rd) to place eighth with a PR of 31:26.91 on a hot day for Amherst, MA. Both of his marks were well under the USATF Junior Qualifying Standard of 32:45.00.

As the summer began Chris continued his preparation for the National Championships hammering out workouts and keeping his focus on the race.

As race day drew near, Chris and Spider Assistant Coach, Jon Molz flew from Richmond to Des Moines on Wednesday for his race. They arrived at the meet headquarters, picked-up his race number and their credentials to enter all areas of the meet and headed to the hotel before going for a run and dinner.

Thursday was spent relaxing at the hotel for Chris after a prerace run while Coach Molz headed down the road for his 13 mile run. He was surprised to find a dirt road less than 3 miles from the hotel that headed out into the Iowa prairie. As he said, “Sweet 13 mile run on hilly dirt roads this morning.” As evening arrived it was time for dinner before heading to the track to watch the senior men’s and women’s 10k national championship races. Both events ended up being slow…a sign that the humidity was more brutal than most thought. No worries for Chris though…there is plenty of heat and humidity in Virginia this time of year. A good training aid when you have to race in similar conditions.

Today was race day… They arrived at the track at 7:15PM for his 9:00PM race. The conditions were hot and humid when they arrived but the temperatures started to drop once the sun set below the horizon…and continued to improve up through the start of the race. Cool temperatures compared to the last 2 weeks in Richmond…

The race had a large field compared to most USATF Jr men’s 10K races the past several years. 26 men stepped to the start line at 9:00PM when the starter called them to take their mark. The first mile York passed in 4:58 as he settled into 6th place with a swarm of 26 men...everyone together. No one had dropped off as they passed 3200M in 10:03 with Chris in 7th… By 3 Miles (15:14) the pack had dwindled to 12 with Chris in the middle of it…Then the racing began… A group of 6 threw in a move picking up the pace just after 3 miles. Chris passed 5K in 15:52…By 4 miles (20:34) he settled into 9th running in the shadow of the 7th and 8th place runners (Arquimedes DelaCruz and Michael Lilley). Gaps began to grow wider between the front pack and the pack behind Chris, DelaCruz and Lilley. At 5 miles (25:57) their pack of 3 remained in tack as Delacruz and Lilley pushed to get away from York. In the end they all 3 passed 2 of the runners that dropped from the lead pack as York finished 7th in 32:41.13 to secure All-America honors for his top 8 finish.

“I’m happy”, said York. “It is great experience and I’m pleased to earn a top 8 finish.

“He looked good out there in tougher conditions than most realized” said Coach Molz. “You can look at the senior race results in the 5K from just before Chris competed and know that it was deceptive. He did a good job out there tonight.”

These USATF National Championship Races are critically important for the growth and development of our athletes. Three years ago it was Matt Llano…Two years ago it was Tim Quinn and Chris this year. It can be a stepping stone to bigger things. I’m glad Chris wanted to compete and I’m glad he has the opportunity to see his hard work pay its dividends…and I’m glad we have alumni support that enables us to provide these opportunities. We never take that for granted.

Chris York (photo by Dan Petty)

Men 10000 Meter Run USA Junior National Championships
Name Year Team Finals
1 Parker Stinson Rogue Running 30:56.10$
2 Graham Bazell unattached 31:33.76
3 Robert Molke Syracuse 31:58.49
4 Benjamin Furcht Georgetown 32:13.22
5 Arquimedes DelaCruz Marist College 32:25.22
6 Michael Lilley Appalachian State 32:30.42
7 Chris York Richmond 32:41.43
8 Connor Callahan Marquette 33:00.98
9 Erik Anderson San Diego 33:06.18
10 Burk Staub Appalachian State 33:06.87
11 Ross Roberson Charlotte 33:30.65
12 Tyler Noble Saginaw Vall 33:33.01
13 Antonio Schafer Oakland 33:39.78
14 Oliver Bear Don't Walk Harrier TC 34:04.88
15 Brehanu Dagnachew Charlotte 34:15.12
16 Jonathan Krell Central Conn 34:32.12
17 Scott Ryan Washington & 34:56.61
18 Kevin Randle Saint Ambrose 35:01.15
-- Christopher Connelly Sacred Heart DNF
-- Tyson Christensen unattached DNF
-- Brendan Devlin unattached DNF
-- Jeffery Arnier unattached DNF
-- Craig Lutz Lake Cities TC DNF
-- Michael Nicoletti Marist College DNF
-- Andrew Coelho Adelphi DNF

Saturday, June 12, 2010

NCAA Championships..What Did Matt Llano Do After He Earned All-America Honors?

He Celebrated his Performance in the 10K...
by running 10 miles...

Sahalie Falls
Matt Llano with his parents, Bob and Sue at Sahalie Falls near Eugene, OR.
Dan Petty, Matt Llano and me at Sahalie Falls outside of Eugene, Oregon. A quick trip before the NCAA Championship Finals races. Matt earned All-America honors in the 10K the night before.
The McKenzie Trail...
Matt Llano and Dan Petty celebrated Matt's performance by running 10 miles on the McKenzie Trail.
Part of the McKenzie Trail...headed to Koosah Falls.
The trail sign...
The West side of the McKenzie River Trail.
Matt Llano and Dan Petty at Koosah Falls...
Koosah Falls on the McKenzie Trail...
The prefect rainbow coming off Koosah Falls...
Matt decided to get a very close look over the Koosah Falls...This was before his mom and dad got there.
The trees grow big & tall as they reach for the sun... Matt and Dan ran 10 miles on the McKenzie Trail from Sahalie Falls to Koosah Falls and then over to Clear Lake.
The McKenzie River flowing through the gorge...You did not want to slip at this point on the trail. Matt and Dan wanted to try to cross the river on these logs...I discoraged them...
The trail was great for running...
A Steller's Jay looking for some food...
The trail parallels the McKenzie River...
And a bridge made from a log was the only way to cross the river.
Clear Lake...In places 130 feet deep it is so clear that you can see 50 feet deep on a calm day. It's fed by an underground river of snow melt from the nearby mountains.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Matt Llano Earns All-America Honors in the 10K

Spider Junior Places 9th (4th among USA Runners) in the NCAA Championship...

Matt Llano finished ninth Thursday night in the 10,000m
at the NCAA Championship. (Photo by Dan Petty)

The skies opened and the rain and cool weather set in before the NCAA Men’s 10K Championship Final earlier this evening. By the time the 24 runners in the race moved to the start line it was cool, cloudy and a strong breeze blowing down the track.

The race started slowly with Matt tucked into 15th position as he covered the opening lap in 73 seconds and followed it with a 76.4 as he crossed the 800M point in 2:29.4!! A slow start for the 24 athletes for sure.

From there the pace quickened as Matt held his position through the 1600M (1 Mile) in 4:46.4…That would be his slowest mile of the 10K (6.2 miles) race as he moved up to a top 10 position with a tightly packed group. He covered the 2nd mile in 4:38 to pass the 3200M (2 mile) point in 9:24.9…
It was a physical race with a lot of pushing and shoving throughout. Matt passed the 5K or halfway point in 14:46.0 and maintained good position. By 4 miles the pack was down to about 15 runners with Sam Chelanga separated from the field in the lead. Matt hit 4 miles in 18:48.6 making that mile a 4:38.1. He moved up to the top 10 and at times as far up as 6th place as the athletes jostled for position as the packed covered the 5th mile with another 4:38.4 to pass 5 miles in 23:27.0.
His 6th mile was another 4:38.4 exactly as he sat in 9th place beginning his kick passing the 6 mile point in 28:05.4. In the last lap he raced stride for stride with Ben Cheruiyot (Kenya/Auburn) as they closed the gap on 7th place runner Alfred Kipchumba (Kenya/Portland). Coming down the stretch he couldn’t get around the two finishing in 9th with a time of 29:10.27 only 1.1 seconds out of 7th place. Llano ran his last 400M in 64.0 which secured NCAA DI All-America honors for the Spider junior.
“I felt great and had the goal of being All-America”, said Llano. “Of course I would like to have run a second faster and placed 7th but I achieved my goal and will be back next year...The race was physical and people were shoving a lot. I guess that's pretty normal at this level.”
“It’s been a great season for Matt”, said Coach Taylor. “I couldn’t be happier for him. No one knows how hard he has worked to get to this point in his career. He is the epitome of the student-athlete. He makes all the sacrifices required with his training, sleep patterns, diet and mental preparation to be ready for the effort it takes to achieve greatness in this sport, especially at this level. The countless miles are expected and something everyone out there does. If you really want to be good…If you really want to achieve greatness and All-America honors, you must be ready to sacrifice and make this sport a way of life, not just something you do for a few hours a day. Matt has done that. Running is a way of life for him. He deserves and has earned every achievement to his credit. With the sacrifices and investments he has made the result here tonight is a fitting end to his season. Go Spiders!”

Llano's NCAA Championship Splits
76.4 (2:29.4)
68.0 (3:37.5)
68.9 (4:46.4)-1 mile
69.6 (5:56.0)
69.9 (7:09.9)
67.9 (8:13.8)
71.1 (9:24.9)-2 miles (4:38.5)
70.3 (10:35.3)
71.2 (11:46.5)
71.8 (12:58.0)
72.4 (14:10.5)-3 miles (4:45.6)
35.6 (14:46.0)-5K

71.4 (15:21.9)
67.7 (16:29.6)
69.3 (17:39.1)
69.5 (18:48.6)- 4 miles (4:38.1)
69.6 (19:58.3)
70.1 (21:08.5)
69.2 (22:17.7)
69.2 (23:27.0)-5 miles (4:38.4)
68.2 (24:35.3)
70.9 (25:46.3)
70.0 (26:56.3)
69.1 (28:05.4)- 6 miles (4:38.4)
64.8 (29:10.27)- 10K—9th over-all (4th USA born runner)

14:24.2 for his 2nd half (5K)
Bob and Sue Llano, Matt's parents won a trivia contest at the track
and got their own button. Nice Spider!!
Matt in front of the NCAA Championships sign.

...a close up of Matt and a Championship sign.
Matt is all smiles after earning All-America honors.
Matt with his parents, Bob and Sue Llano, after the race.
Matt with the Man, Dan Petty...
His former teammate and roommate now works for the Denver Post
and made the trip with his photography equipment.

Me and Llano...

Ha Ha...Matt and I walked by Prince Puckler's Ice Cream place
earlier in the week...After his race we marched the two blocks
from the track and had some very good ice cream.
At least it tasted extra sweet for me after Matt earned All-America honors.

Llano Ninth At NCAA Championship In 10,000m, Earns All-America Honors

It marks the best finish by a Richmond men's runner at the NCAA Championship since 1984.
By Mike DeGeorge
University of Richmond SID

June 10, 2010

- Redshirt junior Matt Llano placed ninth overall in the 10,000m Thursday night at the 2010 NCAA National Track & Field Championship, hosted by the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore. The finish secured All-America status for Llano.

The Arnold, Md. native and Atlantic 10 Champion in the 10,000m was clocked in a time of 29:10.27, which was good for the ninth in the event that featured 24 of the nation's elite collegiate distance runners. Llano had brought the 14th-fastest time to Eugene. He was less than a second shy of a top-eight showing.

Liberty's Sam Chelanga (Kenya), who set the NCAA Record earlier this season, won the NCAA Championship by cruising to the finish in a time 28:37.40.

Llano's appearance at the NCAA National Championship meet was the first by a Richmond men's runner since 1985, the first by a Spider men's distance runner since 1980 and marked the program's best finish (men & women) at the NCAA Championship since Edwin Koech was sixth in the 800m in 1984.

Stay tuned for quotes and photos to follow Friday.

NCAA Division I 2010 Outdoor
Track & Field Championships
Eugene, Or - 6/9/2010 to 6/12/2010

Event 8 Men 10000 Meter Run
Final only. Random draw. Double waterfall. 2/3 on main
American: A 26:59.60 5/1/2010 Chris Solinsky, Nike
College Best: C 27:08.49 5/1/2010 Sam Chelanga, Liberty
NCAA Meet: M 28:01.30 6/1/1979 Suleiman Nyambui, Texas-El Paso
Hayward: S 26:25.97 2008 Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia
Name Year School Finals Points
1 Sam Chelanga JR Liberty 28:37.40 10
2 John Kosgei SR Oklahoma State 28:55.93 8
3 Jake Riley JR Stanford 28:57.41 6
4 Mohammed Ahmed FR Wisconsin 28:57.44 5
5 Kiel Uhl SR Iowa State 28:58.55 4
6 Joe Bosshard FR Colorado 28:59.87 3
7 Ben Cheruiyot SO Auburn 29:09.09 2
8 Alfred Kipchumba SO Portland 29:09.63 1
9 Matt Llano JR Richmond 29:10.27
10 John Beattie SR Tulsa 29:16.48
11 Samuel Kosgei SR Lamar 29:19.90
12 Tyler McCandless SR Penn State 29:22.67
13 Michael Krisch SR Georgetown 29:22.85
14 Luke Puskedra SO Oregon 29:27.37
15 Ahmed Osman SO Northern Arizona 29:29.62
16 Elkanah Kibet SR Auburn 29:30.46
17 Kevin Schwab FR Oklahoma 29:35.07
18 Josh Izewski SO Florida 29:37.85
19 Ryan Collins JR Virginia 29:48.76
20 Dan Jackson JR Notre Dame 29:54.87
21 Duriel Hardy SR Brown 30:04.19
22 Lex Williams SR Michigan 30:04.26
23 Patrick Cheptoek SR Western Kentucky 30:04.32
-- Chris Barnicle SR New Mexico DNF

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2010 NCAA Championships (Day 4)

Prerace Day for Llano...
Today was prerace day for Matt. He races tomorrow night at 7:25PM (PST).... We went to Hayward Field (see photos) early for his workout and drills. A short run was all that he was scheduled for today.

We went back to the track to watch today's events...including the the men's and women's 800M, 400M, 400H and 100M semi-final races, the men's 3K steeple semi-final and the women's 10K final.
The rain came and went throughout the evening and became the worst about the midway point of the women's 10K final. Even with the rain, wind and cool temperatures the meet drew a good crowd of 9,821...and a larger crowd is expected tomorrow.

The East stands were packed... We were happy they were covered and protected us from the rain... I guess they are called the "ducks" for a reason...



June 9, 2010

Matt Llano Runs For An NCAA National Championship Thursday

The men’s 10,000m race is set for Thursday night at 10:15 p.m. ET (7:15 p.m. PT).

Richmond Athletics
Contact: Mike DeGeorge, Assistant Director of Athletic Public Relations

• Follow Coach Taylor: Blog Twitter
• Live Coverage: Results Streaming Video
• Llano on with ESPN 950's Greg Burton

EUGENE, Ore. – University of Richmond runner Matt Llano competes for a National Championship in the 10,000m Thursday night at the 2010 NCAA Track & Field Championship at the University of Oregon. Llano is the first Spider men’s distance runner since 1978 to run in the NCAA Championship event.

A redshirt junior from Arnold, Md., Llano is the Atlantic 10 Champion in the 10,000m event and earned his berth to Eugene, Ore. thanks to a fourth-place finish as the NCAA East Region Championship two weeks ago.

Llano brings the nation’s 14th-fastest 10,000m time posted this season to the National Championship, running a 28:51.69 at the Stanford Invitational in late March. He set the A-10 Championship record with his time of 29:43.12, and was clocked at 29:48.54 in extreme heat and humidly at the NCAA East Regional.

Thursday’s night men’s 10,000m National Championship race begins at 7:15 p.m. PT (10:15 p.m. ET) and Llano will be the first men’s distance runner from Richmond to run at the NCAA National Championship meet since former Olympian Hillary Tuwei in 1978. Tuwei was an Olympian for his native country of Kenya.

Llano is no stranger to NCAA National Championship meets, as he competed in the 2008 NCAA Cross Country National Championship -- first Spider male to do so since Sos Bitok in 1979. Bitok was also an Olympian for his native country of Kenya.

Also a standout in the classroom, Llano is a four-time Academic All-Atlantic 10 selection in both track and cross-country, and was selected as the 2008 A-10 Cross Country Student-Athlete of the Year.


2010 NCAA Championships (Day 3)

Hayward Field for a Workout...

Today was pretty quiet...We headed over to Hayward Field at the University of Oregon after breakfast so Matt Llano could get his workout in and preview the areas around the facility. Although he has two days until he races it's important that he learns the places he can go for his warm-up on Thursday... and today is the perfect day to look around.
The facility is classic...If you are a track & field fan you've heard of Hayward Field at some point in your career. Chances are, if you are good enough, you will also race here at some point.

The championships staff has the facility looking good. You can't help but get the feeling of how special this event is and how competitive the events will be when you walk onto the track. At this meet it's critically important the athlete does not let those emotions take control. Continue to be the same person throughout.
Matt stretched and went out for his run. He headed down the street toward the Willamette River and found a bike path and bridge that led to Pre's Trail. It seems all trails in Eugene lead to Pre's Trail....which is kinda nice.

It was organized madness at the track as he finished his run. There were a lot of athletes there doing the same thing...preparing for their competitions. It was a who's who of NCAA Athletes, coaches and post collegiate standouts as Matt came back to the track for strides and drills. An exciting atmosphere to say the least.
Here is a look at the West stands at Hayward Field. In all the crew increased the facility capacity to 12,000 as they announced that all tickets for Friday and Saturday have sold-out. So, if you are on your way and do not have a ticket plan to pay a lot on the street.
Matt doing drills...
...and more drills.

After he finished up it was time for lunch. He got a recommendation from a friend that goes to school here at UofO that we should go to McMenamins Restaurant. They have two locations in, we chose the one next to the Willamette River. Excellent choice...
...since the weather was perfect for sitting outside and listening to the subtle sounds of the river while we ate.

After lunch we went over the the Nike Store. Pretty fun since they had a lot of original Nike gear from the early years. The most prized item in their showcase? Steve Prefontaine's running log!!

Later we went to the Eugene Running Company and connected with a couple of my old friends including Brad Hudson, who was also a member of the 1991 USA World Championship Track & Field Team that competed in Tokyo, Japan... Brad, Steve Spence and I were the USA representatives in the Marathon at those WC's. It's always great to catch up with folks I've not seen in several years.
Later in the afternoon, it was time for the coaches meeting. It was smooth and uneventful, just provided specific details of the meet administration...It lasted about 90 minutes and then it was time for dinner. We took the recommendation of Arizona State throws coach, Dave Dumble who recommended an Italian Restaurant called Beppe & Gianni's Trattoria. It's just down the street from Hayward Field. Voted the best Italian in Eugene for the past 8 years and it's easy to see why. The food was excellent.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 NCAA Championships (Day 2)

Workout day and Remembering Pre...
Today was Matt's last workout of substance before his National Championship race this Thursday night. Yesterday's rain was replaced with blue skies and warm weather with low humidity. We headed over to the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium (photo below), which is where they play football and the easiest location to access Pre's Trail. His workout consisted of a series of farlek runs designed to get the trip and travel out of his legs.
Pre's Trail, of course, is named after legendary distance runner Steve Prefontaine, or "Pre". The story goes that he returned to Eugene after a few international cross country meets impressed by the style and terrain of those European cross country courses. Upon returning from Europe, he met with local officials and suggested efforts be made to build a running trail through Eugene's Alton Baker Park. Lane County officials worked with the Oregon Track Club and University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman to design and build what is now known as Pre's Trail. Within four months of Pre's death in an auto accident in 1975, the new trail was used to host a memorial race in his honor.

Matt on the bike path next to Pre's Trail...The 4.07 mile trail is roughly 15 feet wide with a soft, wood chip surface...Another recommendation presented by "Pre". In the background is the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium, home of the Duck's football team.

After his workout and drills we headed to dinner at Steelhead Restaurant in downtown Eugene for some excellent salmon. After dinner were drove by historic Hayward Field, the sight of the NCAA Championship events. We'll go over tomorrow morning for Matt's morning run giving him an opportunity to discover a route for his warm-up Thursday evening.
After dinner we drove to Pre's Rock...the location of Steve Prefontaine's fatal car accident on May 30, 1975. This is a sacred place for any American Distance Runner.
"For your dedication and loyalty
To your principles and beliefs...
For your love, warmth, and friendship
For your family and friends...
You are missed by so many
And you will never be forgotten..."
The original designation on the rock was a simple white finger painted "PRE 5-30-75 R.I.P." Many years after his death the current monument (above) was placed because so many people visited the site while in Eugene. It's a tranquil place that you can't help but find yourself asking: "What if?"...and...."How different would our sport be today?"

A bronze statue is affixed to the stone wall...Today a button with "Pre's" photo was attached to the statue.

Around the corner from "Pre's Rock" on Skyline Drive you find a great view of the Willamette River and Pre's Trail...In the distance you can see University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium (photo below).

A closer look at the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium from Skyline Boulevard near Pre's Rock.

One of the famous photos of Pre racing in front of his home crowd at Hayward Field on his way to one of his many American Records. The quote: "A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts."

Brash and yet charismatic Pre raced hard and competed harder...but they say he always had time for his friends and fans after his races.

My Memory of the News of Steve Prefontaine's Death
In June of 1975 my brothers convinced my dad to take up running to get into shape. A few weeks before my dad started to run I remember my brother Matt waking up and reaching for his radio. It was Saturday morning, May 31st, 1975. As I lay there in bed we listened to the music from a station in Parkersburg, WV near my hometown of St. Marys. It was 7:00AM and the top of the hour as the ABC News came on the radio. Matt had the volume turned up high enough for my brother Vernon and I to hear. That’s when it came on the air. The news that only years later would I understand. That's when the news reporter said, “Great American distance runner Steve Prefontaine is dead.” He went on to explain that “Pre” was killed in a single car accident the night before (May 30) while driving to his home in Eugene, Oregon. As I listened I recall Matt’s disbelief. He and Vernon began to talk rapidly about the news. As their little brother I wanted to know who this Steve Prefontaine was. After several minutes Matt began to explain Steve Prefontaine was the greatest American Distance Runner ever...a title that lives on even today some 35 years later. At one time he held American Records in every distance from the Mile through the 10,000 Meters. He was also the first athlete Nike ever he is even more legendary. His race toughness and competitiveness helped build a reputation for the Nike Athletics Empire that was in its infancy at the time. I can still hear the words coming from the radio and that was nearly 35 years ago...

"Fire in the Track"
"PRE LIVES" on a Nike poster of a picture of his last race earlier in the evening of his death (May 30, 975)...As the crowd stood cheering their one was in sight behind him. "His" people, as he called them...couldn't get enough. In his lifetime he lost only 3 races on the Hayward Field Track...They were all at the Mile distance which was certainly not his best event. In his career, he won 120 of the 153 races he ran (78 percent)...One of his most famous quotes: "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift."
And there's his quote before one of his American Record performances...When asked by the media what his race strategy was going to be, he calmly replied, "Well, my plan is pretty simple", he said. "I want to start out at World Record pace...and then pick it up."